The following is the text of the Statement of Purpose of Liberation Summer, a nascent organization that aims to direct the energies of the Occupy movement to grapple with issues of imprisonment in the United States.
Liberation Summer: Statement of Purpose
Inspired by the resurgence of social movements around the world that are illuminating the root causes of social crises, class inequality, bigotry, and human rights violations, a group of activists in NYC have launched Liberation Summer. Our project is an emerging effort to mobilize thousands nationwide to organize and deepen resistance to criminalization and mass incarceration. We want to expose how criminalization and incarceration have been promoted by the state to mask deep social problems and suppress those most likely to resist. We seek to highlight the systemic ways in which African Americans, Latinos, Muslims, other people of color, immigrants, and the poor have historically been criminalized and scapegoated in our society. We will link that historical perspective to the current crisis in police violence and mass incarceration.
Our purpose is to deepen and connect movements of resistance that have been organizing for years against various aspects of criminalization including immigrant rights, mass incarceration, police brutality, political prisoners as well as those who have been tying these issues to injustice in education, housing, employment, and health.
In order to bring Liberation Summer to fruition, we will work to bring together a broad coalition of existing groups in a “united front” that will challenge the carceral state in all of its dimensions. In addition to joining forces with existing groups, we seek also to engage the perspectives of those on the inside of prison walls who, for some time now, have been dramatizing the crisis within American’s prisons through hunger strikes and related acts of resistance. Among these courageous prisoners, and in many cases leading those efforts, are U.S. political prisoners. Some of these prisoners were incarcerated 40 years ago for their activism in the anti-war/civil rights/black power movements.
One of our primary strategies will be to join efforts with veterans of the civil rights and Black/brown/red power movements to bring to bare the moral authority, vision and experience of that generation’s struggles on the challenge of fighting against what many have called the most urgent civil rights crisis of our time. Our hope is that Liberation Summer, which came out of a working group within OCCUPY, will systematically “integrate” our nation’s emerging social movements and place issues of race, class and state repression at the forefront of the struggle against capitalism and the 1%.
Our immediate objective is to assemble a broad coalition of groups that will help conceptualize a summer conference of training, education, and action during the summer of 2012. We intend to reproduce effective and educated agitators, organizers, and leaders who will go back to their communities with the tools and collective vision necessary to change the world. In the tradition of organizing and strategy of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) that launched to consolidate the activist energy that blossomed with the sit-ins of 1960, we propose to launch a coordinating committee that will bring toogether all of those fighting against criminalization and mass incarceration.
The statement concludes with three sentences announcing of an organizing meeting including Angela Davis — a meeting that occurred last night. I’m not aware of any place on the internet, including the Liberation Summer website itself, that has spread the document as text, which is why I’ve transcribed this viral photo of the document. Feel free to copy this statement. The presence of this statement on the Irregular Times website should not be interpreted as any kind of endorsement of Irregular Times by Liberation Summer — it’s completely separate from us.